Drugs and alcohol are so often used to mask uncomfortable feelings. This means one of the biggest challenges in recovery is having to navigate feelings, often for the first time in years and years. Feelings seem so foreign and overwhelming when we really haven’t experienced them for so long. To add to this, it isn’t just our current in the moment feelings, but all the feelings that have built up over the years that we are now dealing with. Because these old feelings haven’t been addressed, they tend to suddenly come back with a vengeance. (Can we say overwhelming again)?
So how do we navigate all these feelings when we haven’t developed the ability to do so, because we haven’t had to previously? It often takes help. It often takes supportive people around you who are willing to support you in these struggles and concerns. We need help to learn to navigate these feelings in a healthy way, and to develop new coping skills to manage these feelings and handle effectively.
This can be hard, because it means admitting we need help. It means being vulnerable. As a culture, we really struggle with asking for help and support without looking at it as being weak. Of course when we are getting this message, it can make reaching out feel even more difficult.
As difficult as it can be, getting that help, and enlisting the support of people around us really is so important. This can look different for each of us. Maybe it’s getting a therapist, maybe it’s going to an AA meeting, maybe it’s leaning on a best friend, whatever that looks like for you individually, knowing managing feelings will get easier over time as we get more skilled with it, but that it is not typically something we can manage without support at least initially, is so important.